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Naked Chick Pics

May 7, 2011

Turkey, Duckling, Gosling and Freedom Ranger Chicks, that is

Greetings, dear reader.  Due to an extreme shift in Uncle Milton’s work schedule, posting has not been so frequent, and delays are more prevalent.  So thank you for being patient.

It was a week ago today that Junior picked up the Freedom Ranger chicks from the post office.  He brought home the little box, carried it into the *cardboard circle*, which serves as a draft shield, and stepped inside.  Then, carefully opening the box, he gently removed one little broiler chick at a time, and dipped its beak into the water fount. Then the little chick was released.

Water fount on the left, red heat lamp on the right

So as you look at the baby chicks under the red lamp, you may be seeing a turkey, a duck, a goose or a chicken.  Look closely.  Does it have a bill or a beak?  A bill would mean a goose or a duck.  There are only two goslings, and they are HUGE in comparison to all the others.  A beak means a turkey or a chicken.  Surprisingly, the turkeys are quite small.  The Freedom Ranger Broiler Chickens are roughly the same size as the turkeys, and they have a hint of color on their backs.  They appear a reddish-brown under the heat lamp.

A couple are feeding at the little chick feeder

You will notice that they are walking on newspaper.  We sprinkled a little bit of their feed onto the newspaper, to help them find it, eat it, and then recognize it as chow.  You will also notice that they leave their waste on the newspaper.  It gets pretty nasty pretty fast. The newspaper was removed the day after these photos were taken.  Under the paper we had arranged a layer of wood chips.  Wood chips absorb some of the waste, and cover some of the smell.  Once the chicks know what to look for as far as chow, then the newspaper can come out, and they will find it as they spill it among the wood chips.

Flocking under the heat lamp

The heat lamp is essential to keep the chicks warm.  They would normally have a nest with a momma above them to share her heat, and cover them with her wings.  Here, we watch the birds to see how they “associate”.  If they are all in one tight little ball, they are too cold, and we lower the lamp.  If they disperse and move away from the lamp, they are too hot, and we raise it.  And generally, the lamp will move up steadily as the birds grow.  As our evening average temps increase, eventually we reach an equilibrium point and the lamp is no longer necessary. Usually after the birds are fully feathered out.

At the feeder

That cute dark little critter in the photo above is a Mallard.  We got a pair of mallards in the mix.  You might recall that Uncle Milton is particularly fond of mallards.  Thirty of them were raised here last year, with many being (incorrectly) clipped to prevent flight.  Then they all migrated South for the winter.  My contribution to Conservation.

Fuzzy, dark poultries

We also got a dark duck. He is on the right above.  No light colored markings on him (her?)  like on the mallards.  Time will tell what breed he is.

One of each?

That is one of the goslings in the center, the dark one with the dark bill.

A Duck on the Right

It is hard to tell but the duck on the right at the feeder has light patches on his sides.  We know from past experience that this little guy is a mallard.  Have been considering clipping a wing on the mallards, to be sure (sure, yeah right!),  um, maybe to try to insure that they stick around over the winter.  We will play that one by ear for now.

It is fun having these little critters around.  Peeping their little heads off, they make for good entertainment.  (And other stuff).  Later.

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